The Slatest

Washington Post Story About Taxi Racism Study Didn’t Mention Study Was Funded by Uber

The Hilton Downtown Chicago. And … a taxi most foul?

Scott Olson/Getty

Update, 5:35 p.m.: The Post has appended a note to Belcher’s piece noting his connection to Uber. In its entirety:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original version of this story did not mention that the Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies study was commissioned by Uber, which competes with taxi companies. The author did not disclose the relationship, and Post editors were unaware of it when the story published.

Original post, 3:48 p.m.: Former Obama pollster Cornell Belcher writes in a Washington Post op-ed published Thursday that, according to a survey conducted by his Brilliant Corners firm, majorities of white and black Chicago residents believe that “low-income and minority neighborhoods” are most likely to experience “poor service, including being refused service,” from taxi drivers. Belcher then implies that ride-hailing services such as Uber might be a solution to pickup bias:

As the political debate over this element of the sharing economy rages—with sides being drawn between the legacy taxicab industry and new-school providers like Uber—all sides would be wise to recognize the racial component. Price and convenience clearly aren’t the only issues at play.

But there’s one huge caveat here which is, crazily, not mentioned by Belcher or the Post even though it’s right there on the Brilliant Corners website: The study was funded by Uber

Screen shot/Brilliant Corners

Why that’s relevant: Uber is engaged in a globe-spanning death-battle with traditional cabs in which it has touted its service to “underserved neighborhoods” as a selling point.

I’ve put in a query with the Washington Post as to why the piece didn’t mention Belcher’s Uber connection and will update this post when/if anyone gets back to me.